Hanbok Shopping

Hanbok Shopping


Although a hanbok is…ah…not the most flattering garment on Western females, I have decided that I want one as a souvenir of my time in Korea.

Good Man decided that since he’s an adult man and his 24-year-old hanbok doesn’t fit, it was time for him to buy one as well.

Where will I wear this? I have no idea. I don’t care.

Since Master’s Wife’s Mother used to make hanboks, she told us to go to Gwangjang market. Good Man and I told Jennifer and Sung Hyun of our plans last time we met and invited them, too. Unfortunately, Sung Hyun had to work, but Jennifer came out, which was so nice. (And slightly weird. We’ve never met without both of the people in both couples there.)

광장 한복 시장

We went to the market, which none of us had been to before. It was great fun as there was a large flower market (though it’s probably not the flower market) there and all of the sights, smells, and sounds of a market.

We called the number of the hanbok shop and the man came and met us, which was fantastic since, in traditional market fashion, there were hundreds of hanbok shops in the building. We never would’ve found him.

Good Man’s Hanbok Colors

The hanbok man that worked with us was awesome. He was so friendly and gently steered us towards good choices. Good Man’s hanbok will be these colors. The pants will be blue, the shirt white, the jacket peach brocade. That golden patch will be on the center front of his jacket.

My Hanbok Colors

My hanbok will have a blue jacket and pink skirt and bow. (No, I can’t believe it either. Yes, I think it will look lovely.) It will have white trim on the sleeves and neckline and be embroidered with flowers that have both the blue and pink in them.

I wanted purple, but the man wouldn’t let me get it because purple is a funeral color! Well I sure as heck didn’t know that, so I’m glad he gently steered me away from that.

I told Good Man I would look like a pregnant mushroom and asked how to say that in Korean. “임신한 버섯일 거 같아?” He just looked at me and said, “But how can a mushroom be pregnant?”

Jennifer Wants Aqua

Jennifer wasn’t buying a hanbok, but we got the man’s business card for her for the future. She’s already decided on her jacket color.

After choosing hanbok colors, I got to get my shoes. And my shoes are…red. Red silk and rubber shoes. With a pink and blue hanbok. Red silk and rubber elf shoes, because the toes point up. It’s the Korean way.

My “I can’t find big enough shoes but I will endure blisters for a month to make these fit” Converse size is 250 mm. My “Wow, I almost found the right size and All-Stars are loose-fitting” Converse size is 255. Well to my utter shock, they had size 260 slippers. My big toe is still a little smooshed, but I’m sure they’ll be fine after wearing them around the house for a few hours. In fact, I am very tempted to pick up more elf shoes to wear with some of my Vietnamese silk clothing.

Jennifer and I joked (quite seriously) that Koreans can throw together colors we’d never put together and when they do it in silk in a hanbok, it suddenly looks really good together. It’s like Korean magic.

I didn’t realize that shoes and socks were included in the hanbok price. All told the jacket, skirt, underskirt (which acts as a bra and binds your breasts flat!), socks and shoes—all done in silk and made to fit me—came to much less than I expected. I was relived when the price was quoted. Interestingly, Good Man’s hanbok cost more than mine!

After buying hanboks, we shopped around the market for a bit. Jennifer and I squealed when we passed the black market PX goods, and we both bought Western goods. Jennifer and Good Man battled a crazy (plant) pot seller lady and I picked up dried kiwi. After shopping, we went and had some tea and coffee together.

Jennifer and Me

Good Man took some great photos of Jennifer and me. When I looked at this photo full sized, I realized that we have nearly identical eye colors. Her eyes are a bit more blue, mine are a bit more green, but the similarity was surprising.

Tea. Leaf.

I could see a lone leaf on a branch reflected in my tea. Taking this photo was an exercise in patience and balance.

Good Man

Good Man swears he wasn’t bored, but he looks like he’s thinking, “Ladies, please, please stop talking. Please.”

A wonderful Saturday. I’m very excited about picking up my hanbok on May 10th! And I’m glad Jennifer was able to come. It was nice to have her there since Good Man is slightly colorblind.

One thought on “Hanbok Shopping

  1. Comment from: Katie [Visitor] Email · http://stagestitches.blogspot.com
    I didn’t realize that hanboks were so colorful! I hope you post pics of them when they are finished!

    I like the pink and blue together, too! The silk must feel luxurious!
    03/24/08 @ 05:41

    Comment from: Robbin [Visitor] Email
    Great idea getting hanboks! I’m sure you’ll be glad you did it.
    03/24/08 @ 12:28

    Comment from: becca [Visitor] Email · http://4am-insomniac.com/blog
    I’ve worn a hanbok exactly twice. Once when I was little for a birthday, and once about 18 years later at the Asian festival.

    Pink and blue will go together. You must model it for us when you get it.
    03/24/08 @ 13:18

    Comment from: :)happy [Visitor] Email
    do you have pics of the finished product?! :)
    03/24/08 @ 13:39

    Comment from: admin [Member] Email
    :)happy, we pick them up May 10th. Of course I’ll post photos then. If you click on any of the hanbok links in the post, you’ll basically see what we got. I went for a traditional but not super-formal hanbok. Meaning: I didn’t get one of those bridal hanboks with the circle on the stomach or anything like that. Meaning: I didn’t get a “trendy” hanbok with 5 colors and tons of embroidery.

    Becca, I know I won’t really have anywhere to wear it, but I just wanted one because my time here has been so important to me. And unlike other clothing, this is a CLASSIC piece in that it’s traditional. Plus, hanboks aren’t form-fitting, so God knows I could wear it (very rarely) for years and years. You know, at my future school’s “cultural” days. Ha!

    Robbin, I’m glad I get to see Good Man in one. Men in hanboks…oh damn, sooooo hot.

    Katie, hanboks are like…explosions of color. I really, really don’t understand how they throw all these colors together and it looks good, but it does.
    03/24/08 @ 16:38

    Comment from: Rob [Visitor] Email · http://www.runtolose.blogspot.com
    My Wife and I had some made for our
    wedding ceremony. They are very nice;
    however, the man’s hat is very unfortunate.
    Sadly, we haven’t had an opportunity to
    wear them since. (5 years)
    03/24/08 @ 23:17

    Comment from: Robbin [Visitor] Email
    Soooo….will you be getting a Jokduri as well?? There’s one on eBay you might like (snicker)

    Totally puts the man’s headgear to shame.
    03/25/08 @ 06:12

    Comment from: :)happy [Visitor] Email
    PS don’t feel bad about the fit. if you’re not a waif, you get a paracute look. lol.

    03/25/08 @ 13:53

    Comment from: envirion [Visitor] Email
    Oh! I’m so jealous!
    I’m dying to get my hands on hanbok fabric in the US and no one sells retail.

    Sorry, I found this page through a google search. I hope I’m not disturbing.
    04/06/08 @ 03:15

    Comment from: Hugh [Visitor] · http://foxhugh.wordpress.com/
    I totally agree with the pregnant mushrrom remark. I think the hanbok was designed to protect them from foreign invaders that are such a fixture of Korean history. The hanbok is the opposite of the hour glass figure which sociobiology studies do show is
    prefered by men due to biological reasons. This would be similar to the use of scarves in Muslim societies but perhaps a more interesting solution.
    I plan to do a more detailed post about this at:

    07/19/08 @ 23:43

    Comment from: Geri Lim [Visitor]
    How much did a make-to-measure Hanbok cost versus a ready made one ? Wether it’s in USD or won doesn’t matter. Thanks! I’m from Singapore by the way.
    08/25/10 @ 23:44

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